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The Wonder of the Cinema

#10 Der Tunnel

I love reading, and I love movies.  So watching a foreign film is the best of both; it’s like reading a movie.  For some people subtitles are a hindrance.  They feel distracted by constantly refocusing their attention from the action to the bottom of screen to read the dialogue.  But if you can read fast enough, there is a whole world of movies out there to be had.

Der Tunnel is a 2001 German mini-series/film about an escape in 1962 from East Berlin.  The plot is simple.  A group of escapees want to devise a way to help their loved ones they left behind escape.  Among the group is an engineer, so they decide to tunnel.  What makes the story intriguing is the Stazi, the East German secret police.  They use informers, listening devices, thousands of agents, and more all in the quest to keep tabs on everyone and everything.

The Berlin Wall in the early days...

The Berlin Wall in the early days…

It is one thing to read about the Berlin Wall in history class, but to see it through the eyes of the Germans is a shocking thing.  One day the people can come and go across the border–with the proper papers–fairly easily.  The next a cordon of barbed wire–later followed with the infamous wall–is thrown up bisecting the city.  Lives are torn apart.  Families are split.  Below is a five minute excerpt of an especially wrenching scene.

I did not recognize any of the actors in this film, but their work was excellent.  A quick IMDB search shall yield other films of their’s I should seek out.  A search on a couple of the primary stars produced some interesting results.  Playing Harry Melchior is Heino Ferch–who won a prestigious award Die Goldene Kamera for his work in this film.  He is best known to US audiences for his role as Albert Speer in the Oscar nominated film Downfall or as Ronnie in Run Lola Run.

Get Ready by the English rock band New Order

Get Ready by the English rock band New Order

The lovely Nicloette Krebitz plays Friederike ‘Fritzi’ Scholz. Krebitz is a model, actress, writer and director.  She even appeared on the cover of an album, Get Ready by New Order.  Hmm, someone to keep an eye on.

The only thing about watching foreign films or television shows is that I am forever wishing that I knew the language–whether it be German, Spanish or even Japanese or Korean–because there are not subtitles for every film out there.  Perhaps it is time to invest in Rosetta Stone.


About Rob Sterner

English teacher, Film buff, Filmmaker, Writer, Musician, Photographer, Runner, Taoist, Thinker, List maker...


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